for this game

Pistons' Murray sinks Celtics in regular-season finale

Apr 19, 2007 - 4:05 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- The Detroit Pistons are going to the Eastern Conference playoffs and the Boston Celtics are going home.

Flip Murray's pull-up jumper with less than a second remaining lifted the Pistons past the Celtics, 91-89, in a regular-season finale that meant little to either team.

The Pistons (53-29) had already clinched top seed in the conference and will face the Orlando Magic in the opening round of the playoffs.

"It's playoff time now," Murray said. "Everything is geared towards the playoffs now. Our minds have to be right and we can't take anything for granted. Every game is like starting from scratch."

The Celtics (24-58) finish as the worst team in the conference and will turn their attention to the May 22 NBA draft lottery.

"We're always looking for new talent," Celtics forward Ryan Gomes said. "We're going to get a good player out of this draft, we don't know who. We're looking forward to someone coming in and helping us with the nucleus that we already have."

Amir Johnson, appearing in just his eighth game of the season, had 20 points and Ronald Murray added 16 points for the Pistons, whose regulars saw limited playing time.

"He's spectacular. He makes plays and he does things," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said of Johnson. "He does things that you can't teach. That's why at 20 years old he has such a huge upside."

Gomes and Rajon Rondo each scored 19 for the Celtics. Rondo hit two free throws to tie the game, 89-89, with three seconds remaining.

"I was really proud of Rajon," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "Earlier in the the year there's no way you would give him the ball because you were worried about him getting fouled and making two free throws."

Rivers said losing in the closing seconds summed up the Celtics' season.

"Fitting ending. That's how the season has gone ... I'm happy it's over," he said.

Celtics forward Al Jefferson said the season would have gone differently if not for injuries to Paul Pierce, Wally Szczerbiak and Tony Allen.

"The only good thing about this season being over is we can count down the days til training camp," he said. "We know we deserved to be in the playoffs if it weren't for the injuries. Let's get the playoffs over, the summer league over and get back at it."

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